Closing the door behind me I walk the few steps to our car parked under the plane tree in front of the house. I hear some energetic wing flapping and look up to see that a pair of pigeons are vigorously copulating over my head. I wince. It looks uncomfortable and precarious up amongst the bare branches, particularly for the partner underneath.
I get in the car and drive away with no particular place to go.
Who needs a pet when you have a car? Like a dog a car needs walking regularly. As it has spent so little time on the road it needs driving places in order to stop the battery dying. I have previous experience of dead batteries. So now I walk the car every other day or so. It gets me out of the house.
I studiously follow the speed limit. The car is fitted with a black box in order that our daughter could be insured to drive it. It monitors braking, acceleration and speed. I decelerate to 1 mph below the speed limit for fear of the insurance going through the roof. I pass dog owners walking their dogs in the rain while I sit behind the wheel on my way to nowhere.
We are pet free. After the remaining guinea pig made his final trip to the vet I was not in a hurry for any more. Pets were not going to fit into our projected lifestyle as empty nesters. Our lives would suddenly be full of short notice travel and exciting away days. We could go places on the spur of the moment. Spontaneously. On a whim. It was to be ‘our time’ as the cliche goes.
It didn’t quite work out that way.
The idea of mini breaks to boutique hotels was always something of a fantasy. I am not an impulsive person but a creature of habit and routine. Still, I enjoyed the idea of having the freedom to flit hither and yon even if I never made use of it. In any case, Phil is the one who organises the holidays. If it were up to me we wouldn’t go anywhere more exotic than a day trip to Weston.
I think how much bother it would be to book a place for a theoretical Fido in a theoretical kennels at the last minute for a theoretical getaway destination. I am free, I tell myself, driving up and then down a bleak stretch of dual carriageway.
I arrive home and while walking to the front door I hear a shriek from overhead. I wince. The white head and gaping beak of a seagull cries out from it’s perch on our chimney pot. The gulls are back again from wherever they migrate to over the winter. Urban legend claims they have a taste for chihuahua.
I go inside and get back to work staring absently out of the studio window. There’s a commotion outside. The pigeons are at it again.
Buy Kerry and the Knight of the Forest and The Book Tour so I can afford to drive the car around in circles like Sisyphus with a hatchback. Or give the books a positive review at the obvious places online where they are reviewed and sold.